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Examining The Effectiveness Of The End Of 'An Inspector Calls'.

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20th Century Drama Coursework - Examining The Effectiveness Of The End Of 'An Inspector Calls' This essay analyses the procedures used by J.B. Priestley in this play. It will pay close attention to which dramatic devices and structures Priestley utilizes. J.B. Priestley uses a cunning technique to conclude the play. He deceives the reader by installing several false endings. This keeps the audience actively engaged and creates a tense atmosphere. There is great disparity between the inauguration of the play and the closing stages. At the start, the Birling family is rejoicing due to the engagement between Gerald and Sheila. We know this as stage directions and expressions show genuine joy, Sheila's father, Mr Birling, declares 'This is one of the happiest nights of my life...' There is also dramatic irony as the play was written in 1945, but set in 1912; Birling talks of the Titanic being unsinkable, no likelihood of wars and so forth. The audience already know that the Titanic had sunk and that two World Wars had previously occurred. This gives a more realistic feeling to the play as what Birling stated was true at the time the play was set. The climax is very much to the contrary. The entrance of the inspector is the point at which the tension rises. During the enquiry, the intensity increases dramatically. The authentic ending is sudden and comes to an end with suspense; the final phone call just tells the audience or reader that a real inspector is soon to arrive to investigate the suicide of a young girl. ...read more.


This shows the reader that a few of the family have learnt their lesson to sufficient extent. It seems to be the elder characters that have dismissed the lesson. The inspector's final speech seems to have caught the attention of the characters, making them regret their actions, but also to make them realise that they can still change for the better. Although there is a varied response from the characters, they all seem to have some confusion. The person who seems to have been affected the most, is Mr Birling. We know this as he is the individual who speaks the most, in quite an angry and distressed tone. However, he hasn't learnt to put his priorities right; he is still focused on future success. He states how his reputation will be heavily damaged, 'Most of this is bound to come out. There'll be a public scandal'. This informs us that Arthur is more concerned with his status than the death of a young girl, which he provoked. This leaves the audience feeling that he has overlooked the message present in the events of the night. The spectators now know what lies beneath the splendid exterior of the polluted Birlings. The audience now also know that there is more to the plot than previously thought. There must be some frustration and uncertainty in the minds of the viewers, as the elder characters appear to be unaffected by the whole episode. ...read more.


The way Priestley has used narrative twists enables the audience to get emotionally involved. Priestley cunningly binds the conclusion and the Inspector's speech. As the Inspector warned them, if they do not learn their lesson now they will have to suffer, 'you will have to learn in blood, fire and anguish.' As not all of the family took notice of this warning, they will have to pay in blood; the inspector coming to inspect the family over the matter of a dead girl. I feel that the conclusion is unpredictable and very tense, rather than exciting. This is because we don't actually know what is being said by the police; suspense. The ironic thing, is that at the point where the phone rings, Birling is talking about how the youth takes things too seriously, '...the famous younger generation who know it all. And they can't even take a joke -'; which is followed by the phone call. This wasn't predictable at all, compared to the previous 'endings', as they exposed misrepresentations, which helped clear the Birlings' consciences, but the real ending provides their downfall. If I had to produce a version of 'An Inspector Calls', and I had to express tension, to enhance the drama already present in Act, I would use the following techniques. I might utilize the collapsing of the house, as in Stephen Daldry's production. Lighting would be important; use dark, red colours to represent tension. Sound effects might also be appropriate; e.g. a thunder storm/explosion as the play ends, and so on. By Surjeet Mann ...read more.

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